Scientists are preparing to send a message to space to contact aliens but are doubtful of humanity’s ability to survive long enough to receive a response.
A team of boffins working on the Beacon in the Galaxy (BITG) project will send information about our world and cultures to extraterrestrials who may be out there listening.
They plan to send the message to a cluster of stars in the Milky Way, which is between 6,500 and 19,500 light-years away.
The team hopes aliens who receive the new message will send a reply back to Earth and finally answer the question of whether humans are alone in the universe.
Jonathan Jiang, co-author of the study and a principal scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explained that the state of the world could see humans destroyed before a response is ever received.
Speaking to Fox13 he said: "The tendency that humans try to destroy ourselves is the greatest danger.
"Currently, there’s lots of problems with humanity, and Stephen Hawking worried about whether or not we can survive another thousand years.”
Jiang explained that NASA’s Pioneer missions in the 1970s about space exploration were also designed to make contact with potential alien civilisations.
The spacecraft used for these missions had a graphic message bolted to the mainframe on a six-by-nine-inch gold anodized plaque.
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Other attempts at contacting alien life forms have been made using telescopes.
In 1974, a signal was sent to space from the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico aimed at a cluster of stars 25,000 light-years away.
Later in 1999 and 2003, the Evpatoria Transmission Messages were sent to space and included an invitation for other life forms to respond.
The next message could contain coded examples of great works of art, and images of nature and architecture on Earth.
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It may also have a map of our solar system, show where the Earth is located, and share information about our system of numbers.
A reply would take tens of thousands of years to reach Earth because of the massive distances between galaxies.
There could also be conflict over getting everyone to agree on the wording of the message sent out.
But the team at the BITG project is hopeful that future generations will be inspired by their work and put their differences aside in the search for alien life.
The brains behind the BITG project wrote in their study: “Humanity has, we contend, a compelling story to share and the desire to know of others’ – and now has the means to do so.”
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